Monday, June 13, 2005

Catching Up With Hyman

Back from being out of town for a week, and back to countering "The Point"!

I wonder about the following topics . . .

So, is Hyman now against visceral hatred? In
his mailbag segment from last week focusing on response to his attack on Linda Foley, Hyman read several comments from those cheering him on, and added that he couldn’t include many responses from the other side of the issue. Why? According to Hyman, “The few who wrote in support of Foley were so naked in their visceral hatred of the military that most of their remarks are inappropriate.”

Apparently, visceral hatred of the media is just fine, however. The quotations Hyman included from his supporters included one that described the supposed anti-military bias of the media as “wicked,” as well as a comment that anyone who causes harm to U.S. troops “should be tried for treason and at the very least have their U.S. citizenship revoked.” There was no explanation of how Foley’s comments “harmed” U.S. troops.

This is just a more blatant than usual framing of the “mailbag” segment as a way to bash those who disagree with Hyman’s diatribes. When critical comments are aired at all, they are usually chosen so as to best play into the idea that anyone who might disagree with Hyman must be a wild-eyed, knee-jerk, leftwing ideologue. No doubt Hyman receives plenty of articulate responses to his commentaries, but those wouldn’t serve his purposes. Just to be sure, however, I’ll send him a copy of the Counterpoint from last week which pointed out that if media figures who slander U.S. troops are going to be tied to the whipping post, Hyman should be first in line.

Did Hyman sleep through history class?
In his commentary on the Alamo, Hyman accuses Nickelodeon (which, in a characteristic non sequitur, he mentioned was a “sister channel” of CBS) of doing bad history. The cause of this was a one-minute educational short that aired on the station that pointed out that the issue of slavery was one of the issues that led to the fight for Texas independence from Mexico.

Hyman’s only actual challenge of the facts in the piece concerns the statement that most of the people living in San Antonio at the time were white slaveholders. Most, Hyman says, were actually Tejanos. But this misses the point. In fact,
Texas as a whole was awash in white settlers (Anglos outnumbering Tejanos by at least a 6 to 1 ratio), many of whom had come to Texas specifically because of the promise that they’d be able to keep their slaves. It was this Anglo influx that caused the conflict of which the battle at the Alamo was a part. Slavery might not have been “the” issue, but it was certainly a catalyst. To simply call the fight a “secessionist” battle is a bit like summing up the Civil War as being about “states’ rights”; it might be accurate, but it hardly tells the whole story. While any one-minute summation of a complex historical event can’t help but be simplistic and a bit distorted, the Nickelodeon piece beats the refried beans out of Hyman’s rebuttal.

If Hyman can’t think critically himself, can’t he at least recognize it in others? Hyman spends
an episode of “The Point” suggesting that Cornell University practiced discrimination when it asked a potential law professor during the hiring process (who happened to be an evangelical Christian) how he could teach gay students. Hyman implies this question was asked in an attempt to find out the applicant’s religious beliefs in order to keep him from getting the job, thereby challenging his civil rights (a dopey assertion, given the fact that the individual’s religious beliefs were already known at the time, and that he got the job).

What Hyman fails to recognize is that in academics (and many other professions), the way one thinks and responds to queries is at least as important as the content of the answer. In this case, the interviewer was asking a perfectly legitimate question to see how the applicant thought about the relationship to his personal identity and his role as a teacher. To use similar example, it would be wrong to not hire a man to teach at an all women’s college simply because he was male, but it would be important to ask the applicant to articulate if/how teaching a class entirely made up of the opposite sex would affect his teaching. In fact, it would be extremely odd for this issue not to be raised in the interview.

In the case of the Cornell law professor, he got the job not because he evaded or confounded his interviewer, but because he showed an ability to reflect upon and articulate a reasonable response to a challenging question. Hyman either willfully ignores this obvious point, or is simply so unfamiliar with concepts of critical thinking that he can’t even recognize it when he sees it.

Remind us again, Mark: who’s not living in the real world? Hyman
calls Reverend Jesse Jackson a “race hustler” because of Jackson’s objections to a voter I.D. measure pending in Georgia. The law, which would require voters to produce a picture I.D. in order to vote, has drawn criticism from civil rights groups because it adds restrictions that could prevent people from voting. According to an article in the Christian Science Monitor, as many as 6% of eligible voters in Georgia would be kept from voting by the new restrictions (and given that most of these people will be poor and/or minorities, guess which party will benefit by these restrictions).

Hyman says charges that some people might not have photo I.D.’s come from those who don’t live in the “real world.” Perhaps Mark should take a trip to rural Georgia. He might discover that not everyone owns their own car, or has any other reason to own an official picture I.D. Heck, my own grandmother never learned to drive, and to my knowledge didn’t have a photo I.D. of any sort. I guess she must not have been living in the “real world.”

Hyman’s concern about voting fraud would be much more believable if he also championed efforts to count votes equally. Legitimate votes going uncounted is a much greater threat than the polls being swarmed by poor, elderly, African American grandmothers trying to vote multiple times. Unfortunately, the lack of a uniform voting system (usually with the least reliable voting machines being used in the poorest precincts) means that thousands and thousands of legitimate votes are not counted.

Of course, a handful of votes never actually affects the outcome of an election, right?

And that’s The Counterpoint.


At 11:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks again for trying, alas futilely, to inject some intelligence into the Dome of Hyman.

Your point about Hyman's Mailbag is a good one: He uses the Mailbag for 3 purposes:

1. Giving himself "attaboys" from his amen choir (of course, only he knows if these respondents are actually real people!)

2. Showing the world yet another instance of the evils of The Angry Left (which, by Mark's standards, would be 95% of the U.S. population that can read or write)

3. And this is Mark's most devious use of the Mailbag -- as an amplifier of his uncivil screeds against the ACLU, the NAACP, Newspapers (particularly the New York Times) and the "Angry Left".

If there was ever a better example of the need for the people to reclaim their broadcast airwaves, it's Mr. Hyman. None does it better. Too bad for him he doesn't realize that he's his own worst enemy.


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